Sometimes you need to just get out and feel the almost gale force wind blowing through your hair, jump in some puddles and have running races with your children. We’re outdoors people, you know that already, so a few days of wet weather soon results in cabin fever. Throw in the seemingly never ending wait for a certain little baby to appear, some disrupted sleep and a cold bug and the urge to get outside becomes too much.
Tonight after dinner we put our wellies and waterproofs on and headed out for a tramp down the farm track with Bracken for some much needed fresh air. The children did their biggest jumps into the puddles, we raced with Bracken down the path, we threw crab apples for Bracken to chase and we almost got blown off our feet by the wind.
It was awesome.
We have spent quite a lot of time over the last couple of months playing hunt the combine; it may be man made but I think it’s one of the great seasonal events and of course a chance to behave like a little boy again watching and talking about tractors. We live next door to a farm so Matilda and Henry get a front row seat to watch the tractors coming in with their trailers full of grain and then disappearing off again to the fields. I love being in the outdoors as you know so a mini adventure that involves being outdoors and free is hard to beat in my book.
It all started back in June with the Barley harvest, then the farmer moved onto rapeseed, then wheat and finally the flax seed which he’s only just finishing collecting. Quite fascinating watching each field go from fully grown plants to nicely ploughed rows in the space of a few days and those guys definitely work hard. This may be a mini adventure but it’s been going on most of the summer either from our garden, on walks along footpaths or when out in the car. We were the annoying people stopped on the country lanes watching another harvester whir around a field with the children complaining if we didn’t stay long enough.
Combine harvesters have always fascinated me, such amazing machines, and it seems my 2 little monsters are equally fascinated. What’s been really fun is that we have a book called Tremendous Tractors by Tony Mitton which tells the story of what each type of tractor can do and the full process of harvest from planting the seeds to harvesting them. It’s one of Henry’s favourites and we read it loads, but over the past few months we’ve been able to show him the tractors in real life doing each of the things. We spot the harvester of course but also the tractors doing baling (with their different shape bales) and he can tell the difference between a plough and a harrow. Not bad for 2.5 I reckon and he’ll spend hours sat on top of his slide looking over the fence at the farm.
I’m not sure they quite understand yet how the grain is then made into bread, but beginning to educate them on the food chain is something I really believe in. The same reason I like getting them involved in growing vegetables, important for them to understand where food comes from. But I did take them on a little walk into a field after the combine had been through and we picked up some of the wheat that was on the floor so they could look at the little grains on the end of the stalk. Maybe next year we might collect some and try to grind some of our own flour?
The best day of our adventure may have been one of the last, Henry was up early one Saturday (nothing new there) so I took him out with me at 6am to walk Bracken. The farmer had left the blades for the combine in the field next to the path so we went in to have a look. Not sure I’ve ever got so close to the blades before but it was great showing Henry how they worked. Pretty perfect father son time I think.
Did any of you get out and play hunt the combine? Do you have budding farmers at home? What mini adventures have you been on this summer?